NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A Connecticut man was sentenced Friday to die for killing a woman and her two daughters during a night of terror in their suburban home, a gruesome crime that unsettled the suburbs and halted momentum to abolish the death penalty in the state.
Joshua Komisarjevsky will be joining Steven Hayes on death row for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. He is scheduled to be executed in July.
The girls were tied to their beds and doused in gasoline before the house was set ablaze; they died of smoke inhalation. Komisarjevsky was convicted of the killings and of sexually assaulting Michaela.
The only survivor, Dr. William Petit, was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up but escaped.
"I will never find peace within. My life will be a continuation of the hurt I caused," Komisarjevsky said in court. "The clock is now ticking and I owe a debt I cannot repay."
Komisarjevsky said he walked out of court condemned to die by 12 members of the community.
"It's a surreal experience, being condemned to die," Komisarjevsky said.
Forgiveness is not his to have, he said, and he needs to forgive his worst enemy -- himself.
Before the sentencing, Judge Jon Blue said sentencing another human being to death is the most somber task a judge can have.
The court then heard some emotional victim impact statements from the Hawke and Petit families.
Petit read his statement as a slide show of his family played on the screen.
Petit called the crime a "personal holocaust" as he testified during the sentencing hearing. He said his wife was his friend and confidante, and a wonderful mother. He also noted that Hayley would have been in medical school by now and that Michaela loved to cook and sing.
"I lost my family and my home," he said. "They were three special people. Your children are your jewels."
Michaela came into the world smiling, Petit said. He recently received a card from one of Michaela's friends. It said it was sad to know that she wouldn't be in 10th grade this year.
"I miss her running to the door and yelling 'Dada's home,'” Petit said.
'Was it worth the price?'
The Rev. Richard Hawke spoke directly to the convicted killer and said he’s presided over many funerals, but never dreamed he would bury his daughter and grandchildren. It was the worst thing he’s had to go through.
"Was it worth the price?" he asked at one point.
If Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela could endure the pain that Komisarjevsky put them through, their families can endure the pain of the trials, Hawke said.
“You have not only destroyed your family, you have destroyed your own and destroyed a noble family name,” Hawke told the man who killed his family members.
The statement from Jennifer’s mother, Marybelle Hawke, was also played in court and she said the love of family will carry them through.
The Petit and Hawke families left court before the sentence was handed down.
Lawyers fought for jurors to hear videotaped testimony from Komisarjevsky’s 9-year-old daughter, but the defendant made a plea against it.
Last month, a jury delivered the death verdict for Komisarjevsky after finding him guilty of the crimes. On Friday, the judge handed down that sentence.
The Associated Press and NBCConnecticut.com contributed to this report.
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